Tuesday’s Topic: Marion Barry

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz.  On this past Saturday there was an election held to determine 15 delegates to support President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention being held in Charlotte, North Carolina…and despite overwhelming criticism Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry was elected by voters as a delegate to represent the city at the convention.  Mr. Barry, who turns 76 today (Happy Birthday), continues to baffle some in the media as well as his colleagues with his ability to rise up from public and personal setbacks only to be re-elected time and time again to represent the citizens of Washington, DC.  And some wonder why.  How does a man who some have referred to as a “walking public relations disaster for the District” continue to have so much support?  Well I believe most people who aren’t Washingtonians wouldn’t understand what Mr. Barry has represented to most minorities who were raised here.  To some Mr. Barry was the first to give them, their parents and their siblings the opportunity at employment.  He was the first to give their grandparents housing when they migrated from the south.  He was the only politician that most kids who were raised in the city ever saw come into their neighborhoods.  So the ties, attachment and loyalty some feel towards Mr. Barry remains to this day.  And even though most don’t believe or support everything that he does…they view him as family.  And as one woman stated…I’ve embarrassed my family many times, but they still love me.  He’s paid his dues…He’s a legacy”.  And no matter what he does…some will always view him as just that…..a Washington, DC Legacy!

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What Were They Thinking Wednesdays: Rev. Marcel Guarnizo

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…Barbara Johnson arrived at The St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to attend the funeral service of her 85 year-old mother.  At the point in the service when communion was to be issued by the Reverend or Priest whom was officiating the service, Ms. Johnson (a lesbian woman) was denied by Reverend Marcel Guarnizo.  Rev. Marcel Guarnizo…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??  Ms. Johnson, an art studio owner and teacher from Washington, DC stood there in disbelief as Rev. Guarnizo refused not only to give her the sacramental bread and wine, but he also left the altar while Ms. Johnson was delivering her mother’s eulogy, and didn’t return.  Furthermore he refused to attend the burial and didn’t find another priest to replace him…all because Ms. Johnson is a lesbian and lives with a woman.  The Archdiocese officials issued a statement stating that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue.  Other Catholics whom were asked said they could not recall another recent occasion when a priest has refused to administer the sacrament to a gay Catholic.  They also said the refusal by Rev. Guarnizo seemed at odds with the strong stand against denial of communion to Catholics enunciated by The Archbishop of Washington, DC’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl.  So with all of these officials stating there isn’t anything against giving communion to a gay or lesbian individual…that means the decision was all yours Rev Guarnizo.  You personalized your views and painted a broad brush over the proceedings.  You sir, turned what was already a traumatic day for Ms. Johnson into your very own soap box moment…and that Rev. Guarnizo was wrong!  You said because Ms. Johnson lives with a woman in the eyes of the church, that is a sin…and I understand that…and I’m no Priest, but I remember hearing or reading that: no sin is greater than the other.  So that means anyone who sins (in your eyes) isn’t worthy of communion?  So anyone who has been divorced…NO COMMUNION?  Anyone who has eaten a grape at the grocery store…NO COMMUNION?  Anyone who has ever used a swear word at a sporting event…NO COMMUNION?  I guess you see where I’m going with this.  If we use your standards on who should or shouldn’t receive communion then their wouldn’t be many of us “WORTHY”.  Or was that just a smoke screen to mask your real feelings about gays?  Whatever the case…your decision was wrong…and I hope the next time…if there is a next time…that you’re overseeing communion, you remove your personal feelings and just continue on with the service!!  Rev. Marcel Guarnizo…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???!!!!!     

Thoughts on Thursdays: Police Misconduct

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…Maryland Prosecutors have dropped all charges against Ryan Keith Dorm of Cottage City, Maryland.  Mr.Dorm, 19, was charged with attempted second-degree assault and attempt to disarm a law enforcement officer.  With these types of charges levied against him, are you asking yourself…why would the prosecutor arrive at such a decision in this case??  Well maybe because the two Prince George’s County Officers who arrested Mr. Dorm have been suspended and are now under criminal investigation….for allegedly fabricating the story around the arrest and police involved shooting that occurred during the apprehension!  Corporal Donald Taylor, a 13 year veteran and another officer both assigned to the Robbery Suppression Task Force were supposedly responding to a robbery in progress call at the Lowest Price gas station and convenience store at the 3800 block of Rhode Island Ave when they saw a suspect flee the scene.  A foot chase ensued and the officers reported that their gun fired when the suspect (Mr. Dorm) tried to disarm the officer.  So if this is the officer’s word against a suspect’s word (who by the way has a criminal past)…why are Mr. Dorm’s charges dropped and two officers are facing charges??  Because there was a video.  A video camera from an adjoining business filmed the entire incident.  And the video evidence does not support the officers’ claim according to Carlos Acosta, newly appointed Inspector General overseeing the Prince George’s Police Department.  Mr. Acosta has sent the video to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney for further investigation.  So Mr. Dorm is a free man.  But ask yourselves, without that video evidence, would he be?  I know they’re hundreds, if not thousands, of people daily in this country who claim they were arrested and are falsely accused of their charges…and we as citizens just go on our merry way.  We believe what the officers’ accounts are (and most are truthful…we hope).  We just arrest/indict/convict/and sentence…all on the word sometimes of that arresting officer.  As long as the streets are being patrolled and we feel safe then no harm, no foul.  Right??  But ask yourselves, if there was a false account or fabricated story in this case, how many more Ryan Dorm’s are there??  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!!

Tuesday’s Topic: Crimes of a Pastor

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…A Frederick County Maryland prosecutor is allowing a former senior pastor at Barnesville Baptist Church to strike a plea agreement on charges he sexually abused a pre-teen girl.  Joe Ivey of Walkersville, MD will enter said agreement this morning in Frederick County Circuit Court.  The deal will result in a conviction for a second degree sex offense says Assistant State’s Attorney Tammy Leach.  She also says the state will recommend a sentence of 20 years in prison (which seems proper for such a crime) …with all but 4 years suspended.  Let me explain what that means for anyone isn’t versed in “court lingo”…this means Mr. Ivey will only actually have to spend 4 years in jail (maybe even less if he is allowed to earn good time on his sentence).  Mr. Ivey was initially charged in September for having sexual contact with a girl from January 2009 to December 2010.  The victim in this case was 10 to 11 years old when the abuse occurred.  Mr. Ivey was actually taped on a phone call according to the charging documents.  On the call the victim told Mr. Ivey she didn’t know if she should tell anyone, and he responded that she should not, and that what happened was between “you, me and GOD”.  This despicable behavior by Mr. Ivey is another example of why plea agreements in certain cases should be taken off the table.  Not only was Mr. Ivey an adult, he was a pastor in a church.  A person who is in a position of authority where kids, adults and whomever seek guidance, help and protection.  Mr. Ivey used that to his advantage to satisfy his sick urges and to assault a precious child.  Mr. Ivey your actions are deplorable sir!  And we have to start to set a precedent in these types of cases…these vultures who prey on the weak and innocent should be given the maximum jail time in these cases.  If some of these predators see the jail terms that are being rendered by the courts it may become a deterrent to them and allow them to maybe think and reconsider their thoughts and actions…before following through and ruining another child’s life!!

Tuesday’s Topic: Occupy DC

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz!  The National Parks Service set a deadline this week and stated they will begin to enforce a ban on camping in two Washington DC parks.  This ban was adapted to directly affect the protesters of the Occupy DC Movement, who have been camping out 24 hours a day in protest of the greed and excess displayed by Wall street – as well as the state that our Government, and the widening differences of the “haves” and the “have nots”…(ie: the 1% versus the 99%).  The Park Service officials said protesters would be allowed to remain in the park around the clock and keep up their tents as long as one side of the tent remains open at all times so they can see in.  My question to the park service would be…What is this going to solve??  The protesters will just sleep during the day and stay up at night.  I believe there has to be some dialog between the Occupy Movement and the Park Service to arrive at a consensus because the health and safety of the area is now coming into question with the infestation of bugs and rodents (who have started their own Occupy Movement).  We live in the Greatest Country in the world, where our freedoms and liberties gives us the right to protest and stand up for our beliefs….so allow The Occupy Movement to do so…in peace!!

It’s Monday: Steven Cephas, Child Killer

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz……I have a question for the District Attorney’s office of Washington DC and maybe even Judge William Jackson as well…are all cases worthy of a plea agreement? I’m asking that question because Judge Jackson accepted a plea and sentenced Steven Cephas on last Friday and I believe an injustice occurred.  Mr. Steven Cephas pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received 15 years in prison.  With that amount of time issued for such a charge you would believe justice was served and we can move on to the next case right??  WRONG!  Allow me to explain the crime that Mr. Cephas was arrested for and allowed to plead guilty to…then you can decide for yourself…should this man have been offered a plea or prosecuted to the full extent of the law?  On November 8, 2010, Mr. Cephas was home playing video games when his then girlfriend’s toddler son Dominic Kingsbury Jr. awoke and began to disturb Mr. Cephas.  He became angry and severely beat Dominic.  He hit him in the head and threw him against a wall.  Dominic was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  An autopsy of the toddler revealed that the boy had suffered blunt force injuries, hemorrhages, lacerations of the intestine and liver, and a spinal cord contusions.  So again I ask…is this a case worthy of  prosecution?  Or was a plea acceptable in such a case?  I know there are always circumstances that may occur when you’re trying a case, and any verdict that would remove a person that would carry out such a heinous act on a child from society is always a positive…but with this one I believe that the chance at trying this case should have been taken.  Mr. Cephas received a 15 year sentence and with a pending probation violation on a previous charge he will have 22 years of total jail confinement.  In my opinion, that’s not enough!!  He should have been tried and convicted of murder…never to experience freedom again.  I believe Dominic would have wanted it that way also!!!!

Thoughts on Thursdays: Marijuana

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There is a battle going on in Washington DC over something that I believe is being misrepresented by citizens, advisory neighborhood commissioners, and the city council…and that is the dilemma over medical marijuana and where it is cultivated (grown).  The DC City Council approved legislation restricting how much medical marijuana can be cultivated in each ward in the city…caving to pressure from Northeast residents who believe that Ward 5 could be overrun with growing facilities.  The City Council struck a compromise stating that no more than 6 cultivation centers can be located in any ward.  My question to the residents who were protesting the centers coming to there ward is…What is your issue with it??  Are there some plans for these warehouses??  I ask that question because that section of Northeast Washington, DC has always been the the city’s warehousing/industrial section and if there are already warehouses there then why can’t they be used to supply a medicine to those who really need it??  I know that medical marijuana is a relatively new way in combating disease and ailments, but through research it has shown to be a way to relieve pain from patients who are suffering from cancers, it gives appetites to those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, and it also has been known to help patients suffering from glaucoma/cataracts.  So if marijuana can do so much good, then what’s the issue?  Are we putting our thoughts above someone’s health??  Are we that caught up in one Ward 5 activist’s perception of the neighborhood becoming a “dumping ground” that we would put PERCEPTIONS above the REALITY of helping others in need??  I would like to know because until you have lived with a loved one suffering from cancer and the medical marijuana eases some of their daily pains – or a HIV family member whose lack of nourishment has left them in an almost vegetative state but with the help of  medical marijuana they have an appetite and eat – or a senior citizen whose eyesight is now failing them through glaucoma/cataracts and they have a difficult time seeing their loved ones and with the aid of medical marijuana, they can get a glimpse of those faces again.  Until any of these things affect you or your loved ones, I guess you will continue to take offense to the cultivation centers.  But I hope and pray that you or any of your loved ones won’t need it anytime soon!!  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!

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